BALTIMORE, MD (May 18, 2018) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement that it is proposing to rescind vital improvements to the agency’s chemical accident safety regulations:
“Our first concern must be protecting people – the workers at these plants, residents of neighboring communities, and the first responders. By proposing to rescind the Chemical Accident Safety Rule, Secretary Pruitt is endangering the health and safety of our citizens and of our environment. The EPA has a statutory duty under the Clean Air Act to develop and issue regulations preventing the accidental release of dangerous chemicals.”
The Chemical Accident Safety Rule seeks to prevent explosions, fires, releases of poisonous gases, and other “accidental releases” at facilities that use or store certain extremely
dangerous chemical substances. The more than 12,000 facilities covered by the regulations, including 157 in Maryland, include oil refineries, chemical manufacturers, pulp and paper mills, wastewater treatment plants, chemical distributors and midstream gas plants. EPA issued this rule to protect the people most vulnerable to poisoning, injury, and death from chemical disasters: facility workers, first responders and neighbors.
In July 2017, Attorney General Frosh joined a coalition of 11 Attorneys General in filing a lawsuit challenging Administrator Pruitt’s rule delaying the effective date of a rule that EPA developed over the course of several years to update its original 1996 Risk Management Program regulations. That case was argued before the D.C. Circuit on March 16, 2018, and is pending with the Court for decision.